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Vocal Masterclass Discussion For The X Factor Season One: And Then There Were 12


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Honestly, I don’t know what to make of this show anymore. I am thoroughly confused.

Normally, I like well-produced stage shows. However, at this stage of the competition, is the “over-the-top” production masking the true ability of the vocalist?

And don’t get me started on the sound effects coming through the audio mix – some singers were nicely tweaked during last week’s show.

Additionally, there was some serious lip-synching going on, especially during the group performances.

So for all of the above reasons, I am adopting a “wait and see” attitude re the addition of Vocal Masterclass articles for The X Factor. With all the manipulation going on, it is a non-sequitur, pretty pointless.

Vocal Masterclasses are supposed to assist the singers to develop their voices through non-electronic means. I may be old-fashioned in my thinking here, but technique still seems to me to be important to the overall vocal health and longevity of a singer.

Let’s see what tonight brings. It is a pretty solid Top 12, but I have no idea how this is going to play out. Do you? Are you watching tonight’s show or doing the old PVR/DVR thing?

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

75 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For The X Factor Season One: And Then There Were 12”

  1. MCL, it’s understandable that you would feel full Masterclass articles may not be suitable for this show. But I do hope you will at least give us a brief comment about each performance. Often I find myself not knowing what to think about a performance, and I always look forward to seeing the opinion of a vocal expert.

    Here is something you might find interesting. There are about a dozen online betting sites taking wagers on the U.S X Factor show (these sites are mostly in Britain since online betting was recently made illegal in the U.S.). Here is a composite average ranking of the U.S. contestants in order of their likelihood of winning according to the betting sites:

    2.2 Drew
    3.2 Melanie
    4.2 Josh
    9.9 Rachel
    11.9 Chris
    12.0 Marcus
    16.6 Brian/Astro
    17.1 Stacy
    21.8 Stereo Hogzz
    30.3 Lakoda Rayne
    35.5 LeRoy
    40.2 InTENsity

    This ranking seems to match fairly well with the opinions of posters on this blog.

    LeRoy and InTENsity were both fine tonite, but I thought their performances lacked real star quality. I would not be surprised to see them in the bottom two tomorrow, as predicted by the rankings above.

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  2. Was anyone else bothered by the fact that the judges tonite seemed to spend more time talking about each other than the contestants? They were constantly congratulating and praising each other for their song choices and the good job they did working with the contestants. If they keep this up each week, it’s going to get really annoying.

    If I was the producer of this show, I would be telling them:

    “I know this may come as a shock, but this show is not about the four of you. It’s about the performers. So in the future, please try to stay focused on them and not yourselves.”

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  3. Malden, those odds seem about right, but Rachel isn’t going to last that long. I thought Melanie was again the best performer with Drew coming in second. Funny, Melanie reminds me of Diana Degarmo, while Drew reminds me of Brooke White. So, I could actually see both on American Idol. They don’t need all the flashiness that most of the X-Factor acts had tonight.

    The show was good; the Judges were terrible. I agree 100% with you… they were talking about the mentor’s choices rather than things about the contestants. After watching “The Voice” and now “The X-Factor,” I prefer shows without such dominance. So, for me “American Idol” and “The Sing-Off” are more enjoyable. Plus, Simon irks me. I would enjoy the show more if Simon was behind the scenes.

    I know this show will be loved by the younger audience. Frankly, I don’t like any of L.A. Reid’s choices. I switched channels when Astro was on, and was bored with Chris and Marcus. Leroy did a really nice job. Now, I loved his song choice – Simon didn’t.

    If I miss a show, it won’t be earth shattering. There is just too much control going on here. I can watch the performances on YouTube.

    Thanks Malden for keeping us informed!

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  4. Malden – I hope to add more in-depth articles. Another problem here is the fact that I am terribly busy in November and December. Aren’t we all?! :)

    However, I will do my best.

    Again, the only singer that impressed me tonight was Melanie. I felt that hers was a genuine performance.

    The groups were lip synching again and some of the soloists had some serious audio enhancements going on.

    I can’t prove it of course but thar’s what my ear was telling me.

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  5. Hello everyone. I’m a little behind the curve – in fact, I’m WAY behind the curve at this point – I’ve been very very busy – but I have been following Melanie with great interest. She blew me away with Desperado. What a powerhouse voice & it seems SO effortless for her – amazing. I also just watched Drew & Stacy Francis (I am sitting in the airport here in Charleston on my way to Las Vegas for some fun & a professional meeting. I like Drew but that was a performance that was ALL about the production & her voice was definitely overshadowed by all the cute little flowers & the cute little hearts & all the pink. Stacy was good but she sounds like 2 different people – maybe 3 – depending on what part of her range she is using & I think she’s working awfully hard. I would worry about her being able to put together an entire concert. Not so Melanie – she could definitely do it if she stays healthy. I haven’t heard any of the groups yet or any of the guys so that will be my next goal :). Sad to hear that the groups are lip-synching. That’s not right.

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  6. Random thoughts after watching tonite’s show:

    Of the 12 finalists, only 3 would qualify for the Idol competition: Melanie, Chris, and Marcus. All the others are either groups or outside Idol’s required age range.

    Simon had trouble with his facts tonite:

    1) He said Melanie’s song Desperado had never before been performed on a TV singing competition. Camile Velasco performed Desperado on Idol season 3, and so did Leroy’s group during audition round.

    2) When was asked why Rachel lyrics were changed from “walking on sunshine” to “you are my sunshine,” Simon said “It’s called being inventive” as if he came up with an original idea. Actually, a more accurate word would be “copycat.” A teenage performer on last year’s British X Factor used the very same lyric change during her audition:

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  7. Did you notice anything odd about Simon on tonite’s show?

    On American Idol, Simon’s persona and reputation were based on giving honest evaluations of singers. He rarely made favorable comments that weren’t fully deserved, and became famous for his snarky, negative comments that were doled out in abundance on each show. But on the British X Factor, he rarely said anything negative, and often praised performances that, if given on American Idol, would elicit sharp criticism from him. On the rare occasions he had negative comments, they were usually directed to the other judgse criticizing their song choices or other issues.

    After plans for the American X Factor were announced, I wondered if we would get this “neutered” version of Simon, or would he stick with his American Idol style of honest criticism? For me, it would be a disappointment to see Simon being full of praise for seriously flawed performances, and it would ruin his reputation for honesty.

    It looks like tonite’s show clearly answered this question. We are getting the neutered Simon who fails to give us the main thing that American viewers liked about him. I don’t think he made a single negative comment about any performer.

    What makes this ironic is that, before the season began, Simon was giving interviews criticizing last year’s Idol for the “soft and mushy” judges. Simon even did a funny TV promo where he wore a pink sweater to make fun of the fuzzy, feel-good comments from the Idol judges last season. And now we get the X Factor judges being even more uniformly favorable in their comments than Idol was.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see the old Simon back, saying something like:

    “I thought the backing track of your recorded vocals sounded great. What little we heard of your live singing was atrocious.”

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  8. malden, i love all your comments, keep them coming!!

    my comments on the show:

    yesterday, i got tired and recorded the show, i didn’t watch past josh, but i
    have that same ‘sticky’ sense of ‘yuck, i can’t stand the overproduction’. i
    fast forwarded through rachel, and i had loved her when we met the young cute
    fresh 13 y.o. i will watch the rest of the show today hopefully before the results show,
    but i don’t have excitement about doing it and i may not stay with it after this episode..will
    decide after i see the rest of it. why be frustrated with pomp and overproduction, i’m thinking. :(

    during the first girl’s group…there seemed to be so much overdubbing..they
    were singing with a recording of themselves.

    the one thing that i did like, and i don’t like paula, is that paula, as she
    watched the first girl’s group, had such a look of pride, like a proud mamma. it was
    a ‘real moment’, and that is what i’m not getting more of from this show.

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  9. this article is about dexter saying he wanted to leave. truth or not, who knows, it is possible. here are a few excerpts:

    “Being called on to do pop songs such as Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” was aggravating, Haygood said: “Can you imagine Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger, James Brown, doing (the `Crazy in Love’ chorus) `uh oh uh oh uh’?”

    Producers “seemed to have their way of doing things. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t let me be me,” he said Tuesday.”

    “He also expressed frustration with how much the show highlighted his difficult circumstances, including “living couch to couch” in Memphis since he lost his home to foreclosure in 2007.”

    “I was treated more like a character than an artist. This is TV, they want a good story, you know? But they took that and I didn’t get a chance to be an artist. I was doing things I would never do,” he said.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/02/dexter-haygood-x-factor-r_n_1071032.html?ref=entertainment

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  10. I watched X-factor last night and was super impressed with Melanie. Wow, wow, wow is all that I can say about her. I’m also a fan of Josh, Drew, and Stacy. The act I liked least was Lakoda Rayne. My husband said they sounded like the Lennon Sisters (which is really dating us!!!), and I could do without them.

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  11. Bee,

    Dexter was this year’s victim of Simon’s standard British practice of exploiting vulnerable contestants for entertainment purposes.

    In an interview recently, Simon candidly admitted this, but insisted that “nothing is ever done too maliciously.” Apparently this means that malicious exploitation is OK with him as long as it’s not “too malicious.”

    Here is a short version of the interview: http://tinyurl.com/3qntzfd

    Full version is here: http://tinyurl.com/3cxuav9

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  12. This show is what DVRs were made for. I don’t like any of the boys or the groups, so I can get a quick taste of their performance and move on to the next endless round of commercials.

    I think that the performances were ordered from the mentor’s least favorite to their most favorite performer within each mentor’s category, so Hogs, Leroy, Chris and Rachael are in disfavor with their mentors at this point if my theory is correct.

    I was glad to see Melanie try to do something out of her comfort zone. Desperado is one of my favorite songs and Melanie sang it beautifully, but she still brought a lot of diva to her performance and the market for divas is way off at this point. Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles aren’t in danger of losing their claims on the song at this point. I still believe that Melanie is the best singer in the competition but I’m concerned about her style for the long run and I question whether she has the X-Factor.

    Josh’s performance wasn’t very good in my view. The song choice was wrong for him and he was off key a few times.

    I liked Leroy’s performance. The song choice was good. Simon has been wrong on that topic so many times in the past that I assume that someone is helping him when he gets it right. Leroy did have a few bobbles in his performance, and there is no way he is in it to win it, but I like him and I’m glad a guy like him can get a shot at a little recognition.

    I didn’t really care for Drew’s song choice and the idea for the hokey performance had to have come from Simon. In spite of that, this girl has a remarkable talent for arranging songs and making them her own. She is one of two that I believe the “A” word (artist) applies to, with Josh being the other. She is the only one in the competition who I see the X-Factor in. If you watch this girl closely it’s almost spooky how her age seems to change from movement to moment over a range of about 12 to 35. My concern for her is that her singing style will become tiresome. A little bit of the lilt goes a long way.

    I still don’t like the show but I do like these four contestants and will record and skip through future shows to follow them. I won’t be voting. As many of you have said, I believe Idol is the better show over all. They made quite a few changes last season in an attempt to improve the show and I hope they will continue to do so this year. Maybe they could swap judges with the Sing Off on a trial basis. Their ratings would go up and a competitor would get canceled. Win – win.

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  13. Yes Melanie sings great but she is dated. Her sound is not the sound that is selling records. Look at Leona Lewis.

    Josh is another Daughtry or Cook. Yes he has a nice voice but is it or he marketable today? IMO NO

    Drew on the other hand is unique, current and packed with that “IT” factor.

    Astro is mega talented and has enough SWAG for 10 grown rappers. But America will not embrace this genre IMO. I bet LA signs him anyway.

    Marcus was good. But IMO brings nothing unique.

    Would love for Stacy to go home. Her over signing gets on my last nerve.

    Drew FOR THE WIN

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  14. i just fast forwarded through a lot of last night’s show, and through a lot of today’s. generally i never fast forward, so to me this is telling. i was watching the whole group singing and noticed that leroy’s voice started singing before he opened his mouth, so i thought, aha, lip synching. bahhhhh……

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  15. malden, thanks for the simon article!!

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  16. Bee – you caught that too? Funny stuff. I think he will have to rehearse more stringently next week on his lip synching technique. Heaven help us if he had to perform with his real voice. Or any of them for that matter.

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  17. What a mess this show has become as of tonight. IMO, Brewer Bros were better, and a lot of young girls developed a crush on them. Big mistaketo send them home. I thought they were cute and the simplicity of the group made their singing appealing. Big mistake made because Simon NEEDED to form Intensity!

    What Simon should have done is make the group into 4-5 kids. I don’t like how he reacts to failure.

    Steve Jones is too wooden and should go home next week. Oh wait, he’s not a contestant. Ryan Seacrest is the best and I adore Cat Deeley! Good looking guy but he doesn’t know how to do this job!

    I also HATE lipsyncing, MCL.

    Gene, I see you agree with me about the boys in L.A. Reid’s group. Astro may make it in the business, but I do not like Rappers. Why won’t they let Chris do HIS own material?

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  18. Wow! From the sounds of things…I’m glad I am not watching!

    Anyone Still watching Dancing? Did you see Dereck’s dance with the young lady on elimination night…OMGoodness! That guy is just awesome to watch; funny, when he first came on dancing I didn’t really care for him, but over the years he has captivated me! He and Tony still rank as my favorite male dancers, and Cheryl my fav female!

    kariann1,

    Ryan and Nick (from AGT) make that job look so easy…but then when you see someone who doesn’t do very well you really appreciate the talent that goes into making it look easy!!! :-)

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  19. vonnie, yes, i’m watching dwts, and i LOVED that dance derek did. who was that female?

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  20. bee,

    Not sure but Oh My! They were awesome together!!! :-)

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  21. In case you missed it, here is a 12 second video of Leroy’s epic fail at lip syncing during the opening act of the results show.

    I’ve noticed that when performers are lip syncing, they often keep the microphone directly in front of their mouth. Apparently this is a standard practice on TV shows to make the lip syncing less obvious. Leroy not only missed his timing, but he forgot to hide his lips with the microphone.

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  22. malden, you’re amazing, producing that link at the snap of a finger!! :) :)

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  23. Here are two additional indicators ranking public interest in the contestants.

    In addition to the betting sites mentioned earlier, all three indicators correctly predicted the act going home. They were also pretty good at predicting the Idol results last season.

    Twitter followers:

    1) Drew – 25,763
    2) Astro – 20,831
    3) Rachel – 19,138
    4) Chris – 18,724
    5) Melanie – 17,635
    6) Stacy – 17,072
    7) Marcus – 13,068
    8) Stereo – 10,144
    9) Josh – 9,880
    10) LeRoy – 9,286
    11) Lakoda – 8,046
    12) InTENsity – 7,923

    YouTube views of 1st live performances:

    1) Drew – 862,766
    2) Astro – 809,968
    3) Melanie – 597,514
    4) Rachel – 402,187
    5) Chris – 376,455
    6) Josh – 360,699
    7) Marcus – 289,616
    8) Stacy – 285,587
    9) Lakoda Rayne – 240,993
    10) LeRoy – 237,217
    11) Stereo Hoggz – 222,840
    12) InTENsity – 222,147

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  24. A few interesting things about the rankings in my post above.

    Astro ranks much higher on the Twitter and Youtube lists than he does on the betting list.

    Josh ranks much lower on the Twitter and Youtube lists than he does on the betting list.

    Drew has 47% more Twitter followers and 45% more Youtube views than Melanie. Although many commentators regard them as running neck and neck for the win, Drew is clearly out in front. Simon should be resting easy as he seems to be on track to get the winner he wants.

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  25. Wow, great comments!! Hard to read the all verbatim because my vision is a little blurry this morning. I am in Vegas & played live poker last night for hours (did pretty well but then blew it in the slots – typical pattern for me – but I ended up about even for the whole night). Anyway, enough about me. I totally agree with malden in regard to Simon. He’s not the Simon who eviscerated Siobhan Magnus. In some ways Thank God but in other ways a bit sad. I think of all the judges (and to be honest I’ve not watched much of the judging) I think LA Reid may be my favorite.

    If Melanie doesn’t win, I’ll be sad but I understand what Malden is saying about the dated factor. But she is by far the more courageous & talented singer. I hope she can find a niche. I would buy her CD. Drew…probably not, she’s not at all my style. But her records will most likely sell.

    Thanks for all your work, Malden. I don’t have to do as much :). Gives me more time to play here in Vegas.

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  26. I am a long team reader of this show and a huge fan of the Idol\X Factor series. Just to clarify the lip syncing issue, all group performances in the X Factor series are never live. They lip syc the U.K version and they will lip syc here. It is nothing surprising

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  27. Mika – then this show is a farce. My concern is that some of the performance show acts are pre-recorded or tweaked.

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  28. In a post above, I discussed how radically different Simon’s comments were on the British X Factor compared to Idol. He would often praise performances on X Factor that he would have slammed with sharp criticism if performed on Idol.

    This video provides a dramatic example of what I mean. It includes a performance and the judges comments from a previous season of British X Factor. I think you will find it both amusing and utterly bewildering.

    Fast forward to the 1:40 mark where the performance begins. As you watch the performance, imagine what snarky, critical things Simon would say about this if performed on Idol. Then prepare to be amazed by the judge’s comments, particularly from Simon. You will think Simon and the other judges are living in some alternative universe.

    It will interesting to see how Simon reacts if a similarly flawed performance should ever be given on the American show, particularly from one of his own mentored contestants. I don’t think he could get away with the same kind of comments without destroying his credibility.

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  29. Wow! There’s lots of interesting comments here. I’m surprised that X-Factor is a go for another season next year already, and am believing they should re-think that. I there is tweeking going on with the contestant’s individual performances, and even lip-synching, then this show really has no credibility. Plus, I absolutely hate the fact that they can never choose what songs they want to sing each week. How can they truely grow as artists if they are not allowing to think for themselves. Now, I not sure how much the judges coach each of them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s overdone. I’m proud of Dexter for being straightforward with his statements of what this show has been like for him. You said it Rosanne, this show is a farce, and Vonnie is wise to not be watching this season. As for the rest of us, we can’t seem to help ourselves. What keeps me watching are my two favorites, Melanie and Drew.

    Melanie’s voice is just out of this world. Her voice is like velvet, and her vocals are never forced. I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard any tweaking of her voice, or seen her lip synching. I sure hope she never has. Melanie is such a incredibly giifted singer that they wouldn’t dare do any tweakiing, Wo uld they? I’m hoping that Melanie sings an upbeat song next week.I agree that Melanie sounds a bit dated, although I’m praying that when she does come out with a record, that radio stations give her a chance. I remember when Mariah Carey used to be on the radio so often, but now, you hadly ever hear her anymore. What a shame. Not only does she have an incredilbe voice, but she’s got so many wonderful songs. Instead, she recorded a Christmas song that she dueted with Justin Beiber, for his new album. Oh brother!!!
    s

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  30. II really enjoyed Drew this week, but thought she was better last week. She brings so much originality to the show, but I’m so afraid that Simon is going to try to mold her into how he wants her to be, and slowly take away her artistic freedom. Maybe not, but they’ve already started doing that with at least some of the contestants. I think he’s doing that with Rachel. She has an amazing voice, and was fantastic early on, but since the Live shows started, I don’t think Simon has given her good songs. I think it’s terrible, because Rachel is such a fine singer. The songs don’t do her any justice, and don’t highlight her wonderful voice. Frankly, I think Simon is already throwing Rachel under the bus, so he can have a clearer path to getting Melanie and Drew to the Finale. That poor girl! I feel sorry for her.
    My, we’ve all got alot on our minds about this show, don’t we?

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  31. In response to questions about lip syncing on the results show, the X Factor producers released this statement:

    “All competitive songs, including survival songs, are performed live to a backing track. Due to the finalists’ extensive preparation for their Wednesday night performances, the opening ensemble number on the results show is pre-recorded.”

    OK, let’s examine this more closely. Take a look at this 13 second clip from the Stereo Hogzz performance on the results show.

    http://videos.nymag.com/video/The-X-Factor-Lip-Sync

    The lead singer is obviously performing live. In the first few seconds of the video, we also hear the other members of group singing, but they don’t even have microphones up to their mouth (!).

    The producer’s statement says that songs are performed to a “backing track,” but it avoids addressing the key issue: do the backing tracks include the performer’s own recorded vocals? If they do, I think this qualifies as lip syncing according to most people’s understanding of that term.

    Many people in the music industry claim that when a backing track includes a performer’s own recorded vocals, it should not be described as lip syncing if the performer sings along with the track. But even by this definition, the Stereo Hogzz were lip syncing because most of the group were clearly not singing anything during part of the song even though we heard their voices.

    MCL, please give us your professional opinion about this. Do you think what the Stereo Hogzz did qualifies as lip syncing?

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  32. Rosanne,

    I was just thinking that a song I feel Drew could do very well with is David Archuleta’s “Elevator”. I love this song. It’s quirky and fun, with a very positive message. The style of the song is right up Drew’s alley, and would allow her to bring her own originality to it. This song is one of David’s best on latest album, but of course, God forbid the radio stations ever play it, sad to say! I would love Simon to choose this song for her!

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  33. Malden – I agree with you. The lead singer may have given a live performance and the jury is still out on that one. But the back-up vocals (I noticed this last evening as well) were pre-recorded and became obvious when you could hear the harmonies but the singers were not singing.

    But, even without that, the sound is too perfect, too synthesized. In other words, it is a recording.

    Also, this article did not address whether or not some of the singers during the performance show were electronically enhanced and/or lip synching. They cleverly avoided this in the news release.

    This show is just ridiculous.

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  34. Anita – I agree. But don’t for one minute think that Simon will choose any song by any American Idol contestant. It just won’t happen. Of course, I may be wrong here, but he is really trying to steer clear of any association of Idol – the show that made Simon a star.

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  35. Rosanne,

    Yes, A.I. made Simon a star much more than X-Factor ever did, and he should remember that. It’s too bad he’s wants to be that way. He was a huge part of A.I. for so many years.

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  36. The issue of sound manipulation and lip syncing on X Factor reminds me of the controversy about certain reality shows like “The Hills” which claim to be real and unscripted when if fact they are not.

    I watch some British reality shows like this online. What impresses me is how upfront the British shows are about the fakery involved. The one I watch most often begins each episode with a statement describing itself as a “semi-reality” show and that “the tans are fake but the people are real, although some of what they do has been set up purely for your entertainment.” This is refreshingly honest and a great way of describing the show.

    I think Simon should have followed this example by being equally upfront about how X Factor works. It’s all about transparency. There’s nothing inherently wrong with producing a TV singing competition that uses lots of sound manipulation and lip syncing. Simon could have said that, because his goal is to find a recording star, he wants viewers to judge the contestants based on how they would sound on a recording, thus justifying the need for all sorts of sound manipulation. And it would have the additional benefit of making it clear to viewers that X Factor is different and unique from all the other TV singing competitions.

    If Simon had done this, I think almost everyone would have accepted the rationale for the sound manipulation and lip syncing. Rather than being something the show has to be ashamed of and tries to deny, it could have been something the show proudly acknowledges.

    But having failed to be upfront about the issue, the show is now getting the predictable criticism.

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  37. Vonnie, I love Nick Cannon’s (AGT) humor. He does things with contestants that no one else can do! Yes, I loved Derek and Allison’s dance. I watched it three times. Then I went to the “Argentine Tango” National Championships – and not one couple did a better version. That cartwheel move was PERFECT!

    NOTE: I am formerly Grammie Kari, and I laughed when you called me Kariann1. LOL!

    Malden, I think Drew would make the Idol TOP 12. She does remind me of Brooke White so much. I see one of Simon’s girls – either Melanie or Drew winning this. It bugged me when Simon took that little bow upstage. My hubby says to ignore Simon since I dislike him so much! LOL! Hard to do that, isn’t it? You mentioned his reputation for honesty, but I thought he was often rude and mean. Sometimes his compliments sounded phony. He is my LEAST favorite judge on all the reality shows I watch!

    Darlene, if you like Hip Hop, you may like L.A. Reid’s guys. I don’t like any of them, personally.

    I agree Gene, I do like Leon and I loved the song choice Nicole picked.

    Bee, thank you for passing along this info on Dexter. Poor guy wasn’t taken seriously.

    Louise, I think there are severl of us who remember the Lennon Sisters!

    Anita, maybe Simon will start reading the criticism of The X-Factor and make changes? Malden, I know you are laughing right now.

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  38. I don’t know where to put this, but thought it was interesting and we all love music!

    http://www.wusa9.com/dontmiss/173370/283/What-Are-The-Best-Songs-Since-1923

    I agree with every decade choice except the 1990s. I wasn’t much of a Nirvana fan, so my choice was “One” by U2. I supposed any Beatles song could have been chosen for the 1960s but they selected their #1 U.S. hit.

    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has an exhibit covering the Beatles and it shows the making of many of their songs. It is about a 45 minute presentation and I watched it three times. I can’t say enough about the exhibit, “WOMEN WHO ROCK!” It’s wonderful! It’s not, “Women In Rock” as some say. Country gals are well-represented.

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  39. Malden – I understand your take on the lip synching issue. But, ultimately, recording artists should be performing live as they would do when in front of an audience.

    From a personal perspective, I have no interest in singers who, well, can’t sing. I know that’s all we hear and see now but it still doesn’t make it right.

    I guess I am a purist at heart and embrace a time when what we heard on stage was real and genuine.

    Like you said, Simon should have made this fact clear from the beginning. The fact that he didn’t tells me that even he is embarrassed by the process he had to adopt on this show.

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  40. Malden, I actually liked this kid. Go figure. Interesting that he isn’t slightly breathy during the performance with all his choreography. Pre-recorded? Yes or audio-enhanced.

    What does everyone else think?

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  41. His pitch was pretty bad though, especially in the lower range.

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  42. Grammi Kari…LOL oops! So used to calling you kariann…So glad you too liked Derek and Allison’s dance, bee, liked it too; he really is phenomenal, Maks made a comment about Derrick always getting the “good” dancers, and maybe he does, but I think his talent with choreography, helps him to make up routines that make his partner look good, plus he dances his rear end off to make them look good too!

    MCL,

    Simon leaves me scratching my head…Makes one wonder what REALLY happened to him and Idol, why does he not want to be associated with Idol; as arrogant and he is you would think he would be tooting his horn about making that show what it is!!! But he’s not, so what happened?

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  43. Vonnie – Idol wasn’t his show or idea. Therefore, Simon likes to have control so he created his own show. In his mind, Idol is a step down for him. Hmmm we shall see once the show resumes in January. The ratings will tell the story.

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  44. Ah-Ha! I didn’t know that…but makes sense now! So mainly Simon’s quest is to out do Idol…!

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  45. Indeed, American Idol, its predecessors and its spin-offs were all created by British entertainment mogul Simon Fuller. American Idol, which premiered on Fox network in 2002, was based on Fuller’s popular British reality competition Pop Idol.

    Vonnie, you can call me whatever you want! It’s good posting with you!

    MCL, I just saw the new ad for The Voice. I am wondering what days of the week it will be on. I like the show, but the Judges are the stars not the contestants.

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  46. Oh, look! First I was Kariann1 and then I am Kariann Hart! LOL!

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  47. Roseanne, I am being silly here. Please forgive me!

    Grammie Kari
    Kariann1
    Kariann Hart

    When I registered for Grammie Kari it wasn’t available!

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  48. Kari,

    Lol…I too enjoy posting with you (and all of your aliases)!!! :-)

    Like

  49. I haven’t been able to log onto this thread for a few days. It’s cleared up now.

    Kari,
    Your schizophrenia is screwing with my paranoia! :) How many of “you” are out there?

    Regarding the remaining boys. I think the boys are just there to fill the show bill until they crown Drew the winner. They cut the best boys from the show at the judge’s house so the voting wouldn’t go askew during the early weeks of viewer voting. They eliminated the type who usually wins Idol when the cut Brennan. They eliminated the guy who was most like the current Idol winner when they cut “Ball cap guy.” A crooner just took the gold on AGT, so the crooner had to go. The three remaining represent musical styles whose fans are not known to be heavy voters on other shows.

    Melanie will probably make it to second or third. Melinda Doolittle is probably a good person to compare her to. Like Melanie, Melinda also got the kiss of death of Simon telling her that she was the one to beat. She was the best singer in the group but a little dated in her singing style and appearance, much like Melanie. I hope to hear Melanie choose some interesting songs to mix it up a little and continue to give the great unenhanced performances, like she has been doing.

    Vonnie,
    I enjoyed Derrick’s performance on DWTS. When they announced that Bieber would be performing a Christmas song backed by Boyz To Men (I think I misspelled that right) I wondered if The Sing Off judge Shawn Stockman would be with the group. Sure enough, there he was. They’re all sleeping together.

    Vonnie and MCL,
    I know that you specifically said Simon wouldn’t choose a song done by a former Idol but I think he makes ALL of the decisions on this show and the other judges are window dressing. The kids group that was eliminated sang a Kelly Clarkson song, “My Life Would Suck without You.” Given that this was their swansong and the arrogance of Simon, I have no problem seeing him selecting this song for these kids to sing through their tears.

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  50. Gene W says to Kari…

    “Your schizophrenia is screwing with my paranoia! How many of “you” are out there?”

    Vonnie response…shoots tea out of her nose and all over her keyboard, then coughs hysterically, while trying to tell the hubby he does not need to call 911…

    That’s funny stuff right there! :-)

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  51. Always a pleasure to make you laugh Vonnie. Glad to be of service.

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  52. Gene’s comparison of Melanie to Melinda Doolittle is perfect. As much as I don’t always trust Idol, I definitely don’t trust X-factor. I’m sure Simon will get his winner and I seriously doubt if it will be Melanie.

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  53. Louise,

    Especially since he tried to get her out of his way before live shows even started…!

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  54. Gene,

    If it’s true that Simon chooses all the songs for every contestant on X-Factor, then this show is just sick! It’s hard for me to believe that the other judges would be accepting of this.

    Like

  55. Rosanne,

    It sure does! Five million dollars is just way too much money to award the winner of this competition, no matter who it is. It’s ridiculous. With that much money on the line, Simon apparently won’t be happy unless he makes all the decisions, and the other judges are just puppets.

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  56. Well, Anita, I always felt that he signed Paula on because he needed a soothing and familiar presence by his side. I guess if the price is right, the right people will follow.

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  57. Rosanne,

    It’s sad and kind of scary that they are willing to accept an arrangment that really isn’t fair to themselves or the contestants, just to line their own pockets more.

    Like

  58. I didn’t realize that the winner got $5 million. That’s appalling. I feel bad for Melanie. She’s an awesome singer & she’s being manipulated. I hope she can survive this & find a happy, satisfying career in music.

    Like

  59. Darlene,

    Melanie’s so incredible! That makes me angry Simon didn’t choose her to begin with, but instead , after breaking her heart, asks her to come back, just to add some drama to the show. Simon used to be my favorite judge on A.I., but I just don’t know what to make of him anymore.

    Like

  60. Hi Anita,

    It’s just my opinion of course but if it were your five million dollars would you trust the other three to help you spend it?

    Actually I don’t think Simon sits down and personally makes a list of songs for the contestants because he has a demonstrated lack of depth in that area, but either his staff does it or he retains a last right of approval over the other judges’ picks. That’s my guess anyway. Look at whch team has had the best song choices each week. Also notice that Chris wasn’t allowed to do his original material but Astro was. Hmmm.

    All I can say is doesn’t Paula look nice?

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  61. Hi Louise,
    Your post about my post gave me an idea. What if Susan Boyle took some of her considerable earnings and started her own recording label and worked exclusively with very talented but out of the mainstream singers. Melanie might be a good candidate one day if she doesn’t make it on X. Melinda would be a great choice. She’s out there working hard and about to release her second album but she lacks major label support and is under employed. Siobhan is available. Crystal Bowersox was recently released from her contract. There are a lot of potential artist for this label. Plenty of guys out there too or just keep it a cat house. There’s your label name right there, “Cat House Records.”

    What do you think? (I know you could have said that in less than 10 words) :)

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  62. Gene,

    I wouldn’t doubt that Simon chose a 5 million dollar prize for this show mainly so he could have pretty much total control of all decision making, and people wouldn’t argue with him about it. That’s a big reason why this show seems like such a farce. I mean, why even have a televised talent competition, and ask America to vote week after week, when Simon wants to manipulate the system so he can get the winner of his choice. What’s the point of this show? For this reason, I really don’t think I should continue voting anymore. It just seems kind of silly now to me. Those contestants deserve better and so does America.

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  63. Anita,

    You asked if Simon chooses the songs for all the contestants. Here is something I posted in a earlier thread about the British version of the show. It suggests that Simon has final approval over song choices and will intervene if he feels a little manipulation is needed to get the result he wants.

    ————————–
    After a contestant was sent home one week on the British show, it was widely attributed to a bad song choice. The contestant later said he and his mentor had together picked what they thought was a great song, but Simon vetoed it because the song was “too good.” When asked if Simon controls the song choices of the other judges, judge Louis Walsh told a reporter: “Every decision made on the show is subject to Simon’s approval.”
    ————————–

    Although the judges officially choose the songs, the contestants do have input in the decision and sometimes can get the song they ask for. On the British show, this was another useful source of manipulation for the producers by which “favored” contestants often got to choose their own songs, while the “non-favored” contestants (like Philip and Dexter on the U.S. show) were given inappropriate songs they would never choose on their own.

    This recent article is an interview with the top 12 American contestants. The first question asked is “How much involvement have you had in your song choices?”

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/10/26/the-x-factor-top-12-q-and-a/

    From what the contestants say, it appears they are getting more input into songs choices than was usual on the British show.

    My impression is that, with Simon’s preferred winner Drew already heavily favored by the viewers to win, Simon will relax and feel less need to use manipulations regarding song choice, sound mix, and other issues that he used so often on the British show. The most blatant manipulations on the British show came during years when Simon’s favored winner was in danger of losing.

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  64. I have felt that Simon IS power hungry and would put up the 5 million dollar prize for control. He probably felt advertising money would pay for the prize. He is trying to out do all the other shows. I still prefer “The Sing-Out” with its $200,000 first place prize.

    Anita, I like your word farce. I haven’t voted at all. It would be funny if someone totally different won, but I doubt that would happen. Simon probably does have some control over song choice, but I wonder how much knowledge he has with Hip Hop songs. That seems to be L.A. Reid’s speciality.

    All this talk about Melanie being used is sad, but she may get a recording career out of this. She has this fantastic voice, would he sabotage her? I was thinking about Syesha having to sing “Happy Feet”, so I wouldn’t be surprised by what he plans to do. The show is entertaining but not worth any emotional investment. (Thinking back to my misty-eyes when Siobhan Magnus was eliminated way too soon.)

    Gene, Siobhan’s album was due to be released October 30, but has been delayed because a major label is interested in her work. That could provide major distribution and marketing of her album. I am anxious to hear her music!

    Gene and Vonnie, would you believe there is one more Kariann? LOL! Yep, Roseanne knows her! :smile:

    Like

  65. Kariann 1,

    That’s funny, does she post on here…that would be like that time that there was another Louise for a day! I thought that Louise had been to see the Baldwin Sisters and had gotten into Papa’s “Recipe”, but it wasn’t our Louise!!!

    Like

  66. Gene and Vonnie–you’re both hilarious!!! I love Gene’s Cat House Records idea!!! And Vonnie, I do remember when another Louise appeared here and I temporarily had to take another name. If that ever happens again, maybe I’ll come out of hiding and take my “real” name! :)

    Like

  67. Hi Louise,

    LOL…

    Sorry about my post in the other thread about Maks and Hope…I know he is your favorite! I don’t have a clear favorite this year, I do think RJ will win, and that is okay, I really like him!

    Like

  68. Hi, Vonnie,

    I didn’t see your comment about Maks. I think JR will win this year and I’d be happy if he does win. He’s a terrific dancer in addition to being someone to admire. Ricki is great too, but I really think JR will win.

    Like

  69. Thanks for posting that again, Malden. I was watching a little of Wendy this morning, and she mentioned that Nicole has stated that she’s frustrated that Simon has been medeling with her group, and that she doesn’t want him present at any of their rehearsals. I think someone needs to take Simon and his ridiculous show and kick them both to the curb. I used to really like the man, but I’m very disappointed with him now.

    Like

  70. Louise,

    I type dyslexic…I meant JR, not RJ???

    Like

  71. So after watching X Factor last night I was curious if anyone saw what I saw… When the Stereo Hoggz where on stage with Paula Abdul after they were eliminated one of the members gave some awkward looks at Paula as if to say something might be going on that we don’t know about. Watch the clip and tell me what u think. The group member with the white sports coat on is the one to watch. The last 45 seconds of the clip

    Like

  72. Mark – could you add the link for us? Thank you.

    Like

  73. Here is a link to an article with the video.

    http://newsblogged.com/video-the-elimination-result-the-stereo-hogzz-sent-home-top-11-eliminations-third-live-show-the-x-factor-usa-2011

    To me, he just seems to be goofing off. Seems weird seeing that he was just eliminated.

    Like

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